The Longitudinal Application of Biomechanical Biofeedback on Whole Limb Complex Motor Skill Development

Mulloy, Francis Edward (2019) The Longitudinal Application of Biomechanical Biofeedback on Whole Limb Complex Motor Skill Development. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

The Longitudinal Application of Biomechanical Biofeedback on Whole Limb Complex Motor Skill Development
Mulloy, Francis - Sports Science.pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Item Status:Live Archive


The provision of augmented feedback using biomechanical measures, termed biofeedback (BFb), both guides and reinforces skill development. Previous BFb research has; mostly used simple skills that do not transfer to complex skills, focused on single joints thus missing BFb influence on other variables within the kinematic chain, and omitted long-term retention testing so learning is not assessed. Therefore, using 3 themes, the aim of this thesis was to identify the effectiveness of knowledge of performance (KP) BFb on influencing a whole limb complex motor skill, and assess longitudinal retention.

Theme 1 identified biomechanically relevant task dynamics, using the fencing attacking lunge as a vehicle for analysis. Differences between skilled (n=7) and novice (n=8) fencers in the rear leg kinematic chain identified skilled displayed greater proximal-to-distal extension angular velocity (skilled, 1.9±0.7, 6.0±2.4, 9.1±2.1 for hip, knee and ankle; novice, 2.4±0.9, 4.6±1.3, 5.4±2.9 rad·s-1; p<0.05) and greater normalised horizontal impulse (skilled 2.51±0.25; novice 1.92±0.36 Ns·kg¯¹); p<0.05), and that ankle plantarflexion correlated with peak horizontal force (r=0.81; p<0.05).

Findings from Theme 1 informed a visual, KP intervention for Theme 2 to assess the effectiveness of an intervention applied to a whole limb technique. Novice participants randomized to BFb (n=16) and Control groups (n=16) visited the laboratory on three occasions over one week, and returned for retention testing at 4-6weeks. Findings indicated that KP on whole limb kinematic extension angular velocities, and sequential patterning of joints, was effective in manipulating the whole limb kinematic chain in a novel lunge task. Angular velocities significantly increased at post testing by 34±38%, 25±24% and 33±47% for the hip, knee and ankle in the BFb group versus no significant change of 9±29%, 6±20% and 8±28% in Controls. There were no changes in any external kinetics, and no correlation between ankle plantarflexion and any external kinetic measures for the 4416 lunges.

Theme 3 examined learning through a dynamical systems framework, exploring coordination during a longitudinal, 26-week KP intervention using a fading schedule (i.e. increasing time between visits). Kinematic changes occurred within just two visits, and were retained throughout the intervention for the BFb group. Coordination coupling of both the hip-knee and knee-ankle angular-velocities, quantified using a modified vector coding (VC) method, did not change in both groups (p>0.05). Given known limitations of VC, a new coupling-area based method was developed (CI2Area) to quantify longitudinal coordination-variability. BFb participants demonstrated a continual increase in coordination-variability, shown by the positive gradient of CI2Area over the 26-weeks for the BFb versus negative gradient for Controls (hip-knee BFb 0.7, Control -0.9; knee-ankle BFb 3.14, Control -0.24). In addition to the group effect, 9 individuals who had a CI2Area greater than the upper 95%CI of the Control group’s gradient were considered to have responded to the BFb.

In conclusion, this thesis contributes to the body of knowledge, using the developed CI2Area as a new method to explore learning in whole-limb complex tasks. This research demonstrated that a fading BFb KP intervention is effective for long-term learning and changes are achieved quickly in targeted variables.

Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:44230
Deposited On:04 Mar 2021 17:40

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